Virtual reality (VR) technology has transcended its video-gaming past and emerged as a proven and beneficial tool in the enterprise space. Fortune 1000s are increasingly adopting VR to enhance corporate training, better connect with customers, and elevate how they prototype new products. It’s no wonder the VR market is valued at $18.18B, and as the price of VR goes down and demand goes up, the value of the VR market will dramatically increase.
However, if you’re just now getting into the exciting world of VR, you’ll need to spruce up your vocabulary with some new terms. To help you out, we’ve compiled the top must-know terms. Just make sure to bookmark this page for future reference.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR refers to the creation of simulated 3D or interactive, life-like environments. By using equipment such as mobile or tethered headsets, individuals can fully immerse themselves in the artificial environment. All elements within a VR experience are generated by the headset, without seeing anything in the real world.
Because VR provides a safe environment, without the need for expensive training mock-ups, many Fortune 1000s have tapped into it as a training tool. This is especially true for procedural training in high-risk environments and for intricate equipment, where trainees must execute the same procedure correctly each time.
There are also other benefits like the ability to scale training, increase speed to competency, lower the costs of travel and expenses related to training, and more. Check out this case study to see how one of the largest transportation companies in the world is using VR for ramp operations training.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR is when you overlay digital elements on top of the reality you already see, rather than replacing or altering it. The most commonly known example is Pokémon Go where characters appear in the user’s real-world through their phone lens.
Outside of entertainment, AR has been gaining speed as an assistive technology tool for industrial repair and maintenance. If a maintenance technician needs help in repairing a machine, they can use computer-generated overlays to show them how to perform the repair or even connect with a remote subject matter expert (SME) to help get the job done.
The result? Faster repairs at a lower cost since you don’t have to fly the SME in or shut down the production line until an expert can come and repair it.
Assistive Reality is a subsection of AR where information is displayed digitally, typically using AR glasses. This differs itself from AR by not having information “stick” to reality, but instead constantly follow the head. In the military, fighter pilot heads up displays (HUDs) are a great example of Assistive Reality technology that has been around for quite a while.
This allows a maintenance technician to pull up helpful diagrams, or repair steps without needing to stop what they’re doing and find the diagram hidden in a filing cabinet. What’s great about this technology is any training material already made that’s simple enough to be displayed on a phone can easily be displayed in Assistive Reality.
Mixed Reality (MR)
MR combines aspects from both VR and AR to create a virtual environment within the real world, allowing users to interact with both virtual and real objects simultaneously. MR is sometimes called enhanced AR, but MR actually takes AR to a new level. Need help visualizing MR? Think about it like this.
You can use a headset, turn it on, and essentially turn your physical computer into an interactive touch screen. Instead of selecting an object with your keyboard or mouse, you could affect changes on your computer via the holographic overlay you see with the goggles. Learn more about mixed reality here.
This type of MR has been gaining traction in assistive applications as well. For example, by using a holographic image, automotive technicians can get step-by-step overlays of exactly how to repair a car engine using gestures, gazes, and voice as commands.
Extended Reality (XR)
XR is the umbrella term for VR, AR, and MR. XR is commonly seen in popular social media apps, like Snapchat and Instagram, where users can add filters to their selfies to alter their appearance and background. Get a taste of XR with this blog.
Simulated Reality (SR)
SR is another umbrella term for VR, AR, and MR and is favored by tech giant Apple.
Tethered Headset (PC VR)
Tethered headsets—also known as PC Virtual Reality headsets—are those that physically connect to a desktop computer to utilize the graphics card and create impressively rendered experiences. In order to run the highest fidelity and most realistic experiences, you will need the oomph that a tethered headset can provide. They usually rely on external tracking via sensors placed around the room or high-powered cameras located on the headset itself.
All-In-One Headset (AIO)
All-in-one headsets are those that pack everything needed for VR into the headset itself. Unlike a tethered headset which requires an expensive gaming computer to go with it, a standalone headset requires no additional costs beyond the headset purchase. This makes them a great choice for those keeping cost in mind when buying large numbers for enterprise use, as well as casual gamers who don’t already have the computers necessary to power tethered headsets.
Degrees of Freedom (DoF)
DoF refers to the number of directions an object can move, or be tracked, within a 3D space. VR headsets and other devices typically use 3DoF or 6DoF. 3DoF indicates how the device is tracked in three types of directional rotations: rolling (where the head pivots side to side), pitching (where the head looks up and down), and yawing (when the head looks left or right).
6DoF is more sophisticated and much more immersive than 3DoF. It incorporates all three rotational movements and adds three further directional movements. These additional degrees of freedom allow a 6DoF headset to track an individual as they move around the physical space as well. The three added movements are elevating (where a person moves up or down), strafing (where a person moves left or right), and surging (when a person moves forward or backward, like walking).
Virtual Learning (V-Learning) and VR Training
V-Learning enhances training through the use of computer/internet-based technologies. Combining V-Learning with VR technology yields VR Training, which is perfect when job functions require learning a set of hard skills to perform complex procedures. VR Training also helps trainees face dangerous situations in a virtual space by removing the real danger and risk when the level of competency is still low (e.g. fire hazard training, emergency preparedness). VR Training is part of V-Learning, however it involves immersive learning experiences using VR as its name states. In other words, VR Training is a subset of V-Learning that includes the simulated immersive virtual space either in 3DoF or 6DoF. Learn more about VR Training here.
Linear Procedural Training (LPT)
Linear Procedural Training refers to the type of training that requires strict adherence to the standard operating procedures, which typically can only be delivered via physical, hands-on guidance to thoroughly learn a process or job function. In technical maintenance fields, this type of training can be quite dangerous since trainees are in environments where they could be harmed if not properly prepared. As such, LPT based VR Training is great for intricate, complicated procedures that must be followed precisely every time. Check out this blog to learn more.
Scenario-Based Training (SBT)
Scenario-based training, or simulated training, is the process of learning a set of skills through realistic examples of what may occur while on the job. For example, a trainee experiences a series of situations or challenges, and must successfully solve them using the appropriate skill at the right time. An instructor can then give specific feedback on the trainee’s thought process to better prepare them for their job. This type of VR Training is great for complex jobs. In complex jobs, trainees must understand a set of skills and also know when to apply them based on specific conditions. More on this topic here.
As technology progresses, implementing virtual reality into training programs is becoming the new normal. Integrating virtual reality into your business will not only improve the comprehension of your training but ensure your employees are safe while they practice a new skill set.
The Metaverse is a popular buzzword defining the collection of experiences that exist entirely digitally, typically idealized to all exist on a single platform. This includes virtual concerts, online social spaces like Horizon Words, and community-created games as seen in Roblox. Essentially, everything we do in the real world can have some sort of digital representation when done online, especially as immersive technology becomes more normal and accessible. Instead of going to a concert and buying merch, people will join using VR glasses, and purchase merch for their digital avatars. The concept has gained attention after Mark Zuckerberg’s bold 2021 keynote which revealed the rebranding of the company Facebook to Meta. You can read more about the subject in this blog post.
Non-Fungible Token (NFT)
Non-Fungible meaning can’t be replaced by another identical item. Token meaning proof. Essentially, it’s like a deed proclaiming ownership over digital assets. An NFT is the main way file ownership is believed to exist in the idealized Metaverse. NFTS are popularly seen these days in the art world, where billions of dollars are being spent buying and trading the “deed” to jpegs, but are being seen as the most reliable way to define and track who owns what on the internet by backing it up on a blockchain. You can read more on NFTS here.
Blockchain is a digital ledger consisting of records of transactions. What makes them such a big deal is their resistance against inaccuracy by having hundreds of computers (typically run by members of a community) constantly checking and confirming that everything is the same, and when a change does happen, approving the change across the entire series of networks. There are environmental concerns surrounding the blockchain, as it does use a significantly large amount of energy to keep running, but has been seen as the best way to track transactions digitally.